It was the best of times, it was the worst times” is one of the famous lines in American literature and evidently, it sums up Clayton Kershaw. I will not say that Kershaw does not have the intestinal fortitude to pitch in or want the ball in a big game, that just isn’t the case. Clayton Kershaw did everything the Dodgers needed him to do in order to send this series back to Los Angeles. Kershaw was dealing to start off the game. He had only allowed one hit in six innings while striking out nine. Kershaw was doing Kershaw things and the possibility of a game 5 was becoming more and more likely and then the 7th inning happened again. With the Dodgers leading 2 – 0, Kershaw lost it. He gave up back to back singles to Matt Holiday and Jhonny Peralta which setup the scene for Matt Adams to be the hero. Matt Adams hit a 3 run homer to right field off of Kershaw to take the lead for the Cardinals. Funny thing about baseball is that it is a very humbling game and the best pitcher in baseball was humbled once again. Kershaw doesn’t give up home runs to left – handed hitters but in this series he gave up two. Adams home run off of Kershaw was just the 2nd home run Kershaw had given up off of curveball. It was déjà vu for Kershaw all over again. Just like in Game 1 Kershaw had done a superb job for six innings only to have a mistake in the 7th inning undue everything.
This is the point where I’m supposed to bash on Don Mattingly for leaving Kershaw in the game yet again, the only thing is, I agree with his decision. There is no one else you’d rather have out there if you’re the Dodgers. Who was Mattingly going to turn to in that situation if not Kershaw? There is no one in that Dodger bullpen you can trust unless you are going to ask Kenley Jansen to get a 9 out save. The outrage of Dodger fans should not be directed at Don Mattingly, he went with Kershaw and got burned. You live with it. I’ll live with that decision. Kershaw made a mistake and left a curveball out over the plate and Adams ended the Dodgers season. If you are going to go down you go down with your best and Clayton Kershaw is our best pitcher. The only problem is that the St. Louis Cardinals are his kryptonite along with the dreadful 7th inning that he could never get passed.
Dodger fans should turn their attention to Ned Colletti who didn’t make any moves to improve the Dodger bullpen which everyone knew was their biggest weakness. Make no mistake, if the Dodgers had a better bullpen, one that Mattingly could trust, the Dodgers season would not be over. The lack of bullpen depth is on Ned Colletti, not Don Mattingly. The only thing you may question Mattingly on is why he brought in Scott Elbert who barely pitched for the Dodgers, as well as the benching of Yasiel Puig, who got into the game as a pitch-runner. It is hard to imagine that Mattingly wouldn’t have used Puig as a pitch-hitter instead of a pitch-runner given the fact that Puig could tie the game with one swing of the bat.
I despise the Cardinals but you gotta give credit where credit is deserved. The Cardinals were the team that got the outs and hits when they needed too. That is why they are heading to their 4th straight NLCS. This is no coincidence, the Cardinals are that good. It’s the Cardinal way. They beat the best pitcher twice and doing it from behind each time is impressive. Gotta give credit to their left-handed bats who did the majority of the damage in the series, this why stats and metrics as good as they are, fail to tell the whole story. Left handed hitting beat left handed pitching in a big way. The Cardinals were the best team and deserve a opporunity to play for a chance at another World Series championship.
For Dodgers fans we shall sulk in another short October for our team in blue. But the sun shall come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar.. and we can now say “There is always next year” for the 25th consecutive year since the Dodgers last made it and won a World Series in 1988.